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4 Suggestions for Safer Online Shopping

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Let’s face it is so convenient that anyone can come up with any reason to shop online. There are bargains at every corner. The selection is out of this world. And on top of that, online shopping is secure and receiving shipment of goods is fast. Even refunds are easy enough to handle, with the reputable online shops. Online shopping has never been easier or more convenient for consumers. But what about the bad guys who want to take advantage of this convenience?

No matter, all you simply need are some common sense and practical advice. By following these basic guidelines, you can shop online with ease of mind. Below are a few tips for staying safe online, so you can start checking off items on that holiday shopping list.

1. Logon to Familiar Websites

Start at a trusted website rather than shopping with a search engine. Search results are usually rigged to lead you to a myriad of other websites, especially after you drift past the first few pages of web links. If you are familiar with the site, chances are it’s less likely to be a rip off. We all know eBay and that it carries everything under the sun. Likewise, just about every major retail outlet has an online store, from Wal-Mart to Best Buy to Home Depot. Beware of misspellings or sites using a different top-level domain name, for example .net or .co instead of .com, which are the oldest tricks in the book. Of course the sales on these sites might look enticing, but that is exactly how they trick you into giving up your personal information.

2. Use a Prepaid Card for Payment

Prepaid cards function similarly to traditional credit or debit cards, not only are they are widely accepted and can be used in-store, online as well as at ATM machines. One major difference though, is that a prepaid card is neither linked to your bank account nor does it allow for a line of credit. You can only spend what was pre-charged on to the card and it does not allow overdrafts. This alone makes it a perfect tool for online shopping. In case your card information gets stolen, the potential damage is limited to the remaining balance in the prepaid card. Even if your card’s information is stolen or duplicated, you can simply give your prepaid card provider a call to inform them about the incident and they will have a new or replacement card mailed to you right away.

3. Look for the Lock

Do not ever underestimate the Internet and never buy anything online using your credit, debit or prepaid card from a site that does not have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed. You will know right away if the site has SSL because the URL of the website will start with https:// instead of just http://. An icon of a locked padlock will typically appear right next to the address bar or in the status bar at the bottom of your web browser. It really depends on which browser you typically use.

4. Check Your Statements Regularly

As a rule of thumb, it is highly suggested that you do not wait for your prepaid card bill to come at the end of the month. Instead, go online regularly during the holiday season and look at electronic statements for your prepaid card accounts. Double-check and keep an eye out for any fraudulent charges, even originating from common websites like eBay, Amazon or PayPal. After all, there are more ways than one to get to your money. If you sense there is something wrong, contact your prepaid card provider right away.

Please visit www.transact24.com to learn more about prepaid cards as a secure payment tool for online shopping.

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